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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 20, 2009 4:00pm-7:00pm EST

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there's a reason you caught me yawning on tv. it's because the feed from here is slower than the feed from atlanta so i can't really tell when i'm on tv so look at this second tweet. it says, rick, you need more sleep, man. maybe you're right, but i didn't know i was on tv. here's wolf blitzer. rick, thanks very much. happening now, the ft. hood massacre suspect is talking. wait until you hear what major nidal malik hasan knows, according to his attorney. we have new information just coming into "the situation room." first mammograms and now pap smears. some women are told essentially to rethink a lot of the advice they have been receiving over the years about another cancer screening. will new guidelines on pap tests cause uproar like new mammogram guidelines did? i'll speak with a columbia university public health professor. and dramatic developments in a case threatening to rip apart a missouri town. the woman takes the stand in the case pitting blacks against whites with walmart right in the
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middle. i'm wolf blitzer in cnn's command center for breaking news, politics and extraordinary reports from around the world. you're in "the situation room." this just coming into "the situation room." ever since 13 people were slaughtered in cold blood at ft. hood in texas, ever since authorities nabbed a man and charged him with multiple counts of pre-meditated murder, a lot of people have wanted to know this, does this suspect fully understand the claims against him? well, now just coming into cnn we're told just what major nidal malik hasan understands as he lies in a hospital bed. let's bring in brian todd. he's been investigating what. are you finding out, brian? >> reporter: new information on the alleged shooter's condition. this is from his attorney john galligan who tells cnn that hasan has been conversing with him from his bed in the intensive care unit at the brook army medical center near san antonio.
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the attorney, mr. galligan, who did not want to be interviewed on tape, say his conversations with hasan has been coherent, that he understands who galligan is and the next steps in the legal process. he last met with hasan on thursday and says after about one hour it was clear that hasan was fatigued and could not continue. when i asked galligan about hasan's paralysis he confirmed he's paralyzed from the waist down and tapped him on the thigh and said there's no feeling there. hasan has several guards around him. cnn is also getting new details of hasan's alleged shooting rampage. texas congressman john carter whose district includes ft. hood has just met with more victims and with commanders at the base. carter says victims are telling him when the shooting first started, many of them thought it was some kind of paintball drill. they told carter that hasan had a laser sight on a gun and was shooting everything and everyone he could get a laser on, and carter says victims are telling him about who they think hasan
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wanted to hit. >> everybody is convinced he was starting soldiers and not targeting civilians because some of the civilians said he looked them in the eye, shook his head and passed over them, and so they really think he was targeting soldiers and not targeting civilians. >> reporter: carter also told me a short time ago that one soldier who was a victim told him that he, that particular soldier, was shot three times until he fell and then hasan shot him again three more times. that soldier survived the attack, according to representative carter. and we have to stress these are secondhand accounts from the congressman from victims who told him these things and eyewitness statements can often be inconsistent. when i asked hasan's attorney about carter's accounts from these victims, galligan says he's saddened by the congressman's remarks and calls them inflammatory, premature and prejudicial. he says he takes issue with the content and character of the congressman's accounts, wolf. >> has hasan's attorney seen the e-mails that he exchanged with this radical muslim cleric in
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yemen? >> i asked him about that. galligan has not seen those e-mails or any classified documents yet. he's seen some of hasan's personnel file but the only things he's really seen are some very basic things, not even some of the things reported in the media about how hasan's record at walter reed and used in other places. he's asked for his own security clearance to be reinstated so that he can view some of the classified material and the army has not responded to that. >> just to recap, you say he's conversant and say wear of what's going on. >> that's right. >> what about his physical condition beyond that? did you get an update on that? >> we tried to get details, very circumspect on the details of hasan's condition and at one point he described his condition as grave. that in many medical circles means he's not close to death and said he's not close to death. this is clearly not a medical doctor talking. he is paralyzed from the waist down, serious medical condition. he tapped him on the thigh and can't feeling anything there.
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conversant, seems to understand what's going on and the next step is in the legal process. >> brian todd is doing some good reporting for us as usual. thanks, brian, very much. the white house has been working on a new afghan strategy now for months, and we still don't know when or if the u.s. troops will join the battle, at least additional u.s. troops. already 68,000 in place. another 30,000 or 40,000 potentially could be on the way. the defense secretary robert gates today apparently already considering though an exit strategy. listen to this. >> we are not going to do what we did in 1989 and turn our backs on afghanistan, but what we would hope is that within a reasonable period of time that we could begin transferring responsibility for security over to the afghans as they are capable of taking responsibility for it and begin drawing down our forces. >> let's talk about what's going on with our senior political analyst gloria borger. the president is back from his four-nation trip to asia.
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>> yep. >> a lot on his plate right now. when are we hearing we'll hear his afghan strategy? >> shortly after thanksgiving, probably within a week or so after, and what you heard from secretary gates is what i'm hearing which is that when the president does announce his decision, he's also going to give us some sense of where the off ramps are in all of this, in other words, no open-ended commitment. he clearly doesn't want to get bogged down in afghanistan. he'll tell that to the american public. >> are we beginning to see the outlines though of an obama strategy? >> we are and trying to piece it together it's hard to come up with sort of specific numbers, but what we are seeing is that this is more likely to be a process, wolf, than the president coming out and saying we're going to do "x" number of troops, but what he's going to do is set benchmarks or targets for afghanistan and pakistan to meet. in other words, in afghanistan, you've got to -- you've got to be more independent, set up your
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troops, get rid of corruption. pakistan, start targeting al qaeda, start targeting militants. the big question, wolf, we don't know if they don't meet those benchmarks what do we do then? what's our stick, you know, because we're there for us, we're not there for them. >> it also looks like the administration is beginning to rethink the entire strategy in dealing with the recently re-elected hamid karzai? >> yeah. i spoke with one administration source who said to me let's just call it a recalibration because obviously this is an administration that's been very disappointed in karzai, but they understand, of course, that right now they have got to work with him. he is our guy, whether we like him or not. as one person said, we're in afghanistan because of our interests, not his, and we have to learn to work with him, so they will. >> lots of questions that have to be resolved. >> absolutely. >> you say after thanksgiving, presumably shortly there after. >> that's what i believe. >> we'll get word how many
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troops are headed off to after. thanks very much. let's check in with jack cafferty who has "the cafferty file." >> talking about this thanksgiving? >> yes, this thanksgiving. >> just checking. something called botax might help pay for health care reform. the name derives from a tax on botox which in the case of some of those hollywood types could raise millions. senate democrats are proposing a 5% excise tax on elective cosmetic procedures this. would include botox injections, breast implants, tummy tucks, facelifts, liposuction, teeth whitening, eyelid repairs, et cetera. the tax would bring in an estimated $6 billion over ten years. it would not apply to cosmetic surgery needed to fix a deformity or injury. drugmakers and plastic surgeons, as you might expect, think it's a terrible idea. the company that makes botox calls it an easy target, says the tax is unnecessarily punitive. the american society of plastic surgeons says it will hurt countless american women of every income level, that it is
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not just, quote, a tax on wealthy suburban republican women. they claim the tax would come at a particularly difficult economic time when women are trying to spruce up their looks as they search for jobs. i would offer that if you're out of work, you probably wouldn't be getting botox injections, but what do i know? it could have been worse. lobbyists apparently succeeded in persuading lawmakers to reduce the tax from 10% which would have brought in $11 billion over ten years. over the summer a lot of democrats -- a lot of people rather thought democrats couldn't possibly be serious about taxing cosmetic surgery, but, oh, they were so wrong. harry reid and company brought it back because, quote, they needed money to make the bill work, unquote. here's the question. should the government tax cosmetic procedures like botox, tummy tucks and liposuction to help pay for health care reform? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. you know, i was just thinking out of that whole list of stuff
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i read with one exception, i could use all those things. >> tummy tucks, you don't need one. >> maybe not a tummy tuck, two things. >> liposuction but not a tummy tuck. >> thanks a lot. >> jack, here's a question, serious question. >> what's that? >> because you know it's going to come up. the president has repeatedly promised he's not going to raise taxes on people earning under $250,000 a year, but as you know, a lot of people who earn under $250,000 a year get some of that cosmetic surgery so in effect he's going to be raising taxes on them, right? >> well, yes, and it's not just on people who get cosmetic surgery. we are so far in the toilet when it comes to the national debt and the deficits that they are going to have to raise taxes on just almost everybody, is my guess, but, yeah, i don't see any way in the world he can keep that pledge of not raising taxes on people who make less than $250,000 a year. it's not going to happen >> i suspect you're right, jack. thanks very much. >> sure. unemployment rates grow worse in dozens of states with no apparent end to the suffering.
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more americans are blaming democrats and members of the obama administration are right now being hammered. stand by. first mammograms and now pap smears. there are new guidelines are pap tests to screen for cervical cancer. we have details. i'll speak with a columbia university professor of public health. and this is a tv newsroom, take a look at this, attacked by a mob of right wing activists. they beat employees and smashed furniture with baseball bats. wait until you hear their explanation. few days, and i was wondering if i could say hi to the doctor. is he in? he's in copenhagen. oh, well, that's nice. but you can still see him! you just said he was in... copenhagen. come on! that's pretty far. doc, look who's in town. ellen! copenhagen? cool, right? vacation. but still seeing patients. oh. [ whispering ] workaholic. i heard that. she said it. i... [ female announcer ] the new office. see it. live it. share it. on the human network. cisco. of your business, what do you see? is the glass half-empty or half-full?
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10.12%, that's the national average but a disturbing report says things are getting a whole lot worse in individual states. could this cause the obama administration to suffer politically? let's bring in our white house correspondent suzanne malveaux. what are you seeing there? >> reporter: these are very important numbers. i want to point to the wall here because this is the labor department survey that came out with this report today taking a look at unemployment. unemployment rose in 29 states, plus here in washington, d.c. it fell for 13 states. wolf, this is a lot more than just numbers. it is about people and real lives. there are a lot more people that are suffering, and now they are starting to blame the president and his economic team. despite some economic indicators suggesting the economy has turned a corner, a new cnn opinion research poll shows a whopping 82% of the public believe economic conditions are poor, and the question of who to blame is taking front and
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center. just take a look at the grilling treasury secretary timothy geithner got from some republican lawmakers. >> the time has expired. >> at some point you have to take responsibility for your decisions. >> i take responsibility for anything that i'm part of doing but i can't take responsibility is for the legacy of crises you bequeathed this country. >> reporter: two years into the recession the blame seems to be shifting. americans are now less likely to point to the republicans for the economic mess, and instead are angry at the democrats. the same cnn opinion research poll shows 38% blame the gop for the country's current economic problems, that's down 15 points from may when 53% blamed them. cnn deputy political director paul steinhauser says that's bad for the democrats and president obama. >> these numbers are troubling for the president. it's going to be harder and harder for this white house to blame the previous administration for the economic woes. this economy is turning into
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barack obama's economy. this recession is turning into barack obama's recession. >> reporter: americans are still very much divided over whether the president's economic policies are actually working. 36% say they have improved economic conditions. 28% say they have made things worse. 35% say what the white house has done has had no effect. one of the reasons americans are dissatisfied is their concern and the ballooning federal budget deficit. two-thirds believe the government should be working harder to balance it. >> even though we're in a time of war americans think the federal budget deficit needs to be brought down. the war is not an excuse. >> reporter: another point, wolf. who gets the credit and blame on the state of economy, particularly jobs, could cause the democratic party as a whole. take a look at these numbers in the wall here. it shows that three times the number of democratic lawmakers facing mid-term elections are in tough or close races. that is three times the number as republicans, so who the
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voters actually see as part of the problem or the solution could make a very big difference next year, wolf. >> initial assessments, still got a year to go, but we'll be watching that closely, suzanne. thanks very much. let's bring in our chief business correspondent ali velshi who is joining us from chicago. right now what's driving economic growth, and what's holding it back? >> reporter: all right. there are three things people depend on. one of them is working and that's markets, stock markets are way up since the lows of march. that means that companies have a little bit more money. it means that people who invest are seeing retirement start to come a little closer as opposed to going further away. the other thing that's kind of working is housing. it's stabilizing. it's not going down as fast. low mortgage rates. home buyers credit, and -- and low home prices are helping to stabilize the housing market, but, wolf, the one that matters the most is the one that's not working, and as suzanne mentioned it is unemployment. the bottom line is you can live without buying or selling a house. can you live without your 401(k). you can't live without an
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income, an increasing numbers of americans are having to be forced to live without an income, the number one problem for this administration. if they start to see job losses stemming, unemployment going down, you'll probably start to see a turnaround in those poll numbers. >> what do we expect in terms of retail sales after thanksgiving, before christmas? this is supposed to be the busiest time of the year for a lot of these stores. >> reporter: yeah. it kicks off next week with black friday. we're already seeing stores being very heavily promotional. the bottom line you is won't see the depth of sales that you saw last year. remember, last year this -- this was upon us more quickly than we expected so retailers couldn't manage their inventory. there weren't enough buyers so they had to slash prices to get it out the door. they are much, much more careful this year. retailers are just not packing in as much inventory which means not as much need to slash those prices. probably not a big rush to get out there. black friday and being the lines at 4:00 in the morning, 5:00 in the morning. if we come out with a retail season, a holiday season that is any better than last year's most
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retailers will consider that a victory. >> ali, thanks very much. ali is going to be coming back in the next hour. he's in chicago, and we'll talk a little bit about oprah as well. a hodgepodge of agencies overseeing credit cards, mortgages and insurance, now there's a push to protect consumers in a new way, and big business is balking. also, you'll find out why a museum in italy plans to display two fingers and a tooth. (announcer) a cold or flu can start fast... new tylenol cold rapid release gels day and night release medicine fast
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fredericka whitfield is monitoring some other important stories incoming into "the situation room" right now. what's going on. >> reporter: hello, everyone. demonstrations are in play at a couple of university of california campuses where students are protesting a 32%
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tuition hike. the occupied positions of uc buildings in los angeles, berkeley, davis and santa cruz late yesterday. sit-ins still happening at berkeley at santa cruz. university officials passed a tuition hike yesterday saying it's needed because of the state's financial crisis. protesters say the hike will hurt students depending on state-funded education. and officials in india say they suspect right wing activists of attacking a mumbai tv station today. the suspects say that it was an act of retaliation against the channel's bias against their leader. offices at ibn was ransacked and employees were beaten. deputy police commissioner says at least seven men have been arrested, and up to 20 more arrests are expected. and officials in saudi arabia are taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the h1n1 virus among millions of hajj pill grams.
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pilgrims landed at jetta airport must pass through thermal screening input looking for anyone with a fever above 100.4. no one is being barred from the hajj but doctors say anyone showing signs of the disease are transported to a special hospital. saudi authorities tell cnn that there have been 20 suspected h1n1 cases of which only 12 were confirmed. and two fingers and a tooth said to have come from galileo will go on display next spring. the museum of the history of science in florence, italy, acquired the remains believed to belong to the astronomer from a collector. the vatican branded galileo a heretic for saying the earth revolved around the sun. he died in 1642. pope john paul ii rehabilitated him in early 1990, wolf. >> a little gory, isn't it, two fingers and a tooth? >> kind of creep toe me. >> who wants to see that? >> reporter: folks revel in finds like that. >> yeah, maybe it's a big deal
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for some. >> reporter: yeah. >> thanks very much, fred. on the heels of new guidelines for mammograms, there's now new advice about getting pap smears. should american women be worried that their health care is being rationed, and we're digging deeper on the connection between a radical islamic cleric and the alleged gunman? a little later the cleric's message raw and uncut. introducing new sudafed pe® triple action™. for more complete relief from the sinus triple threat. new sudafed pe® triple action™. more complete relief.
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to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now. it's up to the jury in a case of a woman accused of losing in a missouri walmart. she took the stand today to tell her side of the story. was she simply rude or driven to it by racial slurs? another member of senator john mccain's family is making his mark on twitter this time behind the camera. cnn's abbi tatton will tell us what jack mccain is up to right now. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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days after new mammogram guidelines caused huge controversy, there are now new recommendations for pap smears from the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists recommending women have their first pap test at age 21 and every other year until age 30 instead of age 30. after age 309 group advises women to get pap tests every three years. let's talk a little bit more about all these guidelines causing huge controversy and confusion out there. joining us now is professor sheila rothman, a public health professor at columbia university in new york. professor, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you very much. delighted to be here. >> a lot of people are concerned. it looks like this is the start of rationing, sanctioned in effect by the government. is it? >> no. i think it's sad that there's this confusion out there. the guidelines are quite separate. they have been put forth by two very conservative, very well-established agencies, the american cancer society for the
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guidelines of very strongly supporting it. the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists on the pap test, and they have been conflated with raising, but they real very nothing to do with it, and i think it's really important for the american people to begin to think about it and separate the two. >> what about the federal task force that came out with the new guidelines on mammograms? that wasn't the american cancer society or the college. >> well, the week before the american cancer society had spoken out about mammograms and kind of prepared us i believe for what was going to happen. >> but the american cancer society, correct me if i'm wrong, didn't they walk away and distance themselves from the new guidelines on mammograms? >> yes and no, but i think what's really important here, wolf, is for women to not to begin to conflate these with rationing and to begin to kind of understand what people are talking about. i know all of us as women are very concerned about breast cancer and obviously about
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cervical cancer, and mammograms and pap tests are very important to us. we go once a year and i know myself and every one else i know feels like a sigh of relief when we get the results back and we know that it hasn't happened to us. >> because to a lot of critics it looks like they are more interested in saving money which is not necessarily a bad thing if you can use that money for some more worthwhile uses as opposed to saving lives. >> i don't think that's really the issue here. there are new guidelines, and the guidelines are based on evidence-based medicine. a lot of the older stuff, as we're learning, was really much more anecdotal, much more of a narrative, and these new guidelines are trying to help set standards. now they are just guidelines and they real very nothing to do with an individual woman and her physician and what they decide, and individual decisions will be made, but these are just population guidelines. >> you say they are just guidelines, professor, but the department of health and human services on its website calls
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these federal task force, the ones that came out with the controversial mammogram new guidelines the gold standard, and a lot of insurance companies, there is fear out there, will start using these new standards, the new guidelines and they won't reimburse people for getting mammograms let's say in their 40s. >> that -- that's hard to tell. i mean, what i can talk to you about is the fact that -- about the fear issue and about how women are perceiving this and the fact -- i really am a historian of medicine and talk to you about times when in the past science has come out with new recommendations and that it's taken people a long time to get used to them even though they are based on science because some of the things we did before weren't based on science, for instance, when the tuberculosis bacilla was discovered, they thought that ran in families but it took a long time to understand this was a microbe and they needed
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different habits and needed to address it differently and we can talk about that with hand-washing and we need doctors to educate people and understand that this is based on evidence and not anecdote. >> still a lot of confusion out there out there when you get the new guidelines especially when they go so against the grain of what we had been told and we won't resolve it right now. thanks for coming in, professor. appreciate it. >> you're welcome. the senate is nearing a critical test vote on health care reform. some democratic women in particular are feeling the pressure. which way are they leaning right now? and while sarah palin makes money, a lot of it off of her book tour, are democrats making money off of her as well? mary matalin and jamal simmons are standing by for our strategy session. and your credit card and mortgage, your insurance, all sorts of different agencies are watching out for your money, and some lawmakers don't think they are doing a good enough job. - pie. ? - apple or cherry? - cherry. oil or cream? oil or cream? cream.
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regarding health care reform, democrats say republicans are just saying things to scare you. republicans say the real fear is the democrats' plans. tomorrow night both arguments are set to face off in the u.s. senate. there will be a vote on whether or not to proceed with the actual debate on the senate floor. ultimately to pass health care reform democrats will need all their members, including those who may be on the fence. our senior congressional correspondent dana bash has been watching what's going on up on capitol hill. still a little bit of mystery, i take it, over whether or not harry reid, the majority leader has those essential 60 votes. >> reporter: that's right. one democratic senator, however, took the mystery away from how he is going to vote. ben nelson of nebraska announced
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today that despite his deep concerns about his party's health care bill he will in fact vote to begin debate, to bring the health care bill to the floor. he said if you don't like a bill, why block your own opportunity to amend it, so the president can cross ben nelson off his list of potential democratic senators who can put the brakes on his top priority, but there are a couple of other senators who are still publicly coy. behind the scenes, it's a democratic scramble to secure 60 votes needed to start the senate health care debate. >> we're not assuming a thing. we're working hard to bring all democrats together for the 60 votes necessary to proceed to this historic debate. >> reporter: and all eyes are on one of the last democratic holdouts, the senator inside this office, blanche lincoln of arkansas. phones are ringing off the hook and constituents trying to get through to influence her vote. >> yes, ma'am. i'm sorry about that. >> okay. can i let her know that.
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>> well, we're getting a lot of people geth calling. >> reporter: lincoln holds the power to stop president obama's top priority in its tracks or let it proceed. she's got a tough re-election battle next year in a state obama lost in 2008 by 20 points, and conservative voters now worry that the health care bill spends too much and gives too much power to the government. democratic leaders are well aware of his political pickle but tried to pressure her with this argument. >> would i say to senator lincoln that i believe most of the people in arkansas will be relieved and happy to see health care reform. i think the failure to pass a bill is not good for america. it isn't good for any of us in congress or those standing for re-election. >> reporter: another democratic senator who hasn't formally announced her vote is mary landrieu of louisiana. aides released these photos to cnn showing her working with staff, going through the 2,000-plus page health care bill. one thing she will find is this, a sweetener democrat leaders
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added to help persuade landrieu, $100 million in medicaid assistance she's been trying to get for her home state of louisiana, still struggling from katrina. now landrieu also says she still has deep concerns about a lot of what's in this bill, especially the cost and the fact that she opposes a government-run health care plan which, again, is in this bill, but she seems to be leaning towards voting to start debate. now when you talk to democratic leadership sources, wolf, perhaps because of that and because of other things they are hearing privately, their cautious optimism behind the scenes has turned into really confidence that they will get these votes tomorrow night. >> did i hear you right and say there's $100 million earmarked specially for louisiana in this legislation to make it more attractive for mary landrieu? >> reporter: mary landrieu and other lawmakers from louisiana. it's perhaps a little bit ironic, but, remember, in the house there was one republican, one republican in the house who voted for the democrats' health
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care bill. she republican who represents new orleans. he had a personal conversation with the president saying that he really hopes that they help louisiana, so that is nice symmetry with what the democratic senator from louisiana also wants. the delegation and the governor, republican governor, are pushing this for a long time. this is a good opportunity for the president to give it to them. >> yeah, $100 million sweetener sounds pretty good if you're from louisiana. thanks very much for that, dana. we'll watch this with you, obviously, all weekend. another focus in congress this week, protecting consumers. democrats say there are too many different agencies involved in protecting you and your money, and they are proposing one, repeat, one watchdog agency with a lot more bite. our national political correspondent jessica yellin has been doing sexcellethe broken g we're looking at what. are you finding out today. >> reporter: members of congress are trying to fix the government, and there is a huge political fight under way, no, not on health care reform. over a proposal to create a powerful new agency whose only
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mission would be to protect consumers. >> it's cooking. >> reporter: this woman is a victim of the kind of consumer abuses that helped take this nation to the brink of economic crisis. >> i went on my own thought i was doing the right thing and this is where it ended. >> reporter: she lost house she lived in for 17 years after she signed a new mortgage she didn't understand and couldn't afford. her broker did not make it clear her payments would skyrocket. >> yeah. i'm reading and signing this thing, signing my home away and had no idea, and no one was informing me that it's an adjustable rate. >> reporter: the problem, no single federal agency oversees all mortgages. instead, five agencies have a hand in it. during the subprime mortgage crisis, some companies worked the loopholes. elizabeth warren is a watchdog for congress. >> there are gaps in between and overlaps in the regulatory
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structure. >> reporter: mortgages are just one piece of a much bigger problem for consumers. across the federal government seven different agencies set rules for everything from loans to mortgages, credit cards and insurance products so some companies play one regulator against another. now, democrats in congress are pushing a major overhaul that would organize these powers into one new consumer protection agency. >> our plan will stop abusive practices by creating an independent consumer financial protect agency with one mission, and that is standing up for consumers. >> reporter: congressional republicans oppose the democrats' plan but do support new streamlined consumer protections. >> i believe in regulation that makes markets more competitive. i believe in regulation that respects the rights of consumers. i don't see this happening with this particular agency. >> reporter: but business interests, they are ready for battle and have spent more than
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$334 million lobbying this year. they are led by the u.s. chamber of commerce. >> you've seen a multiplication of agencies. big government isn't the answer. >> reporter: he says the powerful new agency will hurt business innovation. >> it creates a scheme where you have regulators who are really starting to decide who winners and losers are. >> reporter: etta hunt just wants someone to speak for her. >> i would like them to have somebody to keep tabs on these -- all of these mortgage companies. >> reporter: so how would this new agency work? well, they could mandate simpler contracts. twhoe have the power to sue companies for unfair practices, and they would say they would try to close gaps in regulations. now the critics, they say this agency would limit our choices as consumers. they insist this agency existed decades ago we wouldn't have atm cards or debit cards. very powerful interests lining up on this side of debate and
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it's just beginning. >> companies spending already more than $300 million to lobby on it. >> reporter: business life and death for them. >> thanks very much, jessica yellin, for reporting for us. a sure bet that sarah palin is raking it in her best-selling memoir, but could she be bringing in even more money for her political opponents? our strategy session is straight ahead. and there's some frightening news out right now about the h1n1 virus. a mutated strain appears to drive infection deeper into the patient, and fears are growing that one of the key drugs in the fight against it is now losing its punch. stay with us. you're in "the situation room."
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save up to thousands of dollars... on potential out-of-pocket expenses... with an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan... insured by united healthcare insurance company. call now for your free information kit... and medicare guide and find out... how you could start saving. let's get to our strategy session right now. joining us, the democratic central artery gist jamal simmons. he's a principal with the raven group which does have some health care interests as part of its clientele, and republican strategist and cnn political contributor mary matalin. i was pretty surprised, and i'll start with you, jamal. john conyers, the chairman the house judiciary committee really went after the president and rahm emanuel, the white house chief of staff. listen to what he told bill press on his radio show.
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>> how worried, jamal, should the president be that he could lose his -- his very liberal base? >> you know, john congers is my hometown congressman from detroit, and he has a very long record of speaking his mind and saying what he thinks. progressives are a little upset about some of the things that are coming through on the health care bill, but, you know, the barack obama from a few years ago, the difference between him and the barack obama today is that this barack obama has got to get a health care bill passed and failure is not an option and he notion that so they will do
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whatever it takes to get the bill through, and i think at the end of the day a lot of the progressi progressives, though they may not be happy, they know failure is not an option. >> i guess the accusation, mary, sort of takes them for granted. he's really reaching out to the more moderate and conservative democrats whom he desperately needs to get this thing passed. >> well, he does, and that would be a surprise to those moderate blue dogs who don't feel like they have gotten much cover. what this does show is that the democratic party is far more cross-pressured than the much ballyhooed coverage of the republican so-called civil war but as jamal and i have been saying every time we're on it's not a left or right issue. it's the people in the middle, the indpends from the beginning who have been opposed and increasingly intense about their opposition to this opposition and that's where the democrats in the south, you saw jesse jackson singling one out the other day. they are really cross-pressured
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and far more than the fringy left of whom conyers has earned the right to be in and to speak out for. >> mary, you're from -- you're from -- you live in new orleans right now. mary landrieu, the senator from louisiana, she's apparently the last of the 60 needed to start the debate tomorrow night in the u.s. senate. she's under a lot of pressure back home and is up for re-election as you know next year. what do you think she's going to do as far as allowing the debate at least to begin on the senate floor? >> i do not know, but i think this sweetener, as it's been called, has been completely miscast. i happen to know that governor jindal, everybody is knows for this because it represents an anomaly in the way that the medicaid dollars are calculated, an anomaly that arose from katrina. this is not new money, appropriated money, a glitch in the system and not a sweetener for mary and if it is perceived as stuff it won't be good for her but if she can help get this
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red tape cleared up so we can escape from the anomaly that's a good thing. >> i guess what concerns me a little bit is that this is supposed to be health care reform. maybe that $100 million to deal -- to deal with this medicare problem in louisiana is worth well, but should that be in this legislation, historic legislation, to reform health care reform or maybe it should be in some other legislation dealing with appropriations for louisiana and a whole bunch of other states that might need some remedies? why is this $100 million in what's supposed to be historic health care reform legislation? >> well, you know, cost and spending have always been a big issue and also some issues around medicare and what you're hearing from some of the republicans is that the democrats want to cut medicare, want to cut your medicare which is quite ironic. the republicans would be the ones who are arguing about saving medicare, but everything is going to be in this bill that it takes to get the bill across and get it finished and get it done, and that's where democrats are focused and i think the president and the white house are focused so they will do what it takes to finish t.mary just
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talked a little bit about, you know, the wide ranging views in the democratic party. the issue right now is the democratic party is a big-tent party. we have one race in conservative and moderate districts across the country and more progressive members have to negotiate with moderates. >> you didn't answer the question. why does this money have to be in health care reform legislation, as worthwhile as it might be? >> you know, wolf, i think you'll have to ask one of the legislative leaders in the room about why they put that in the bill. all i know is when you talk to the folks up on capitol hill what they say is they are doing everything they can to get the bill through and address the needs of their members. >> mary, the dnc is using sarah palin to try to go out there and try to raise money. they have a new ad they are running as we approach the final sprint on health reform we can't afford more deception and delay. we need to be ready for everything and have the resporeses to respond with ads, events and calls to congress when the attacks come so we're setting a big goal, $500,000, in the next week to help push back
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against sarah palin and her allies. please chip in $5 to help reach our goal. is she going to do some financial wonders for the dnc, mary? >> this is -- i love this. they can't decide if she's a dope, a diva or a super destroyer. they are sucking money out of a finite fund. political givers are not inexhaustible to be used against a person who is not even running so go for it. i mean, it's -- it's hilarious that they are so afraid of a person that they have such little regard for and can't insult enough. i'm finding it all so very amusing. >> what are you finding it, jamal? is she helping or hurting fund-raising for the dnc? >> we refer to sarah palin as the gift that keeps on giving. every single time she comes out in public it's a boon to democrats. it turns off moderates and independents. she fires up the conservative republican base which is great for us because she also fires up the democratic base. the dnc is raising money off of her. any other candidate -- i think we saw what happened in new york
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in the special election. candidates should be nervous about having sarah palin come in and endorse you. she's not exactly going tonight signal for your success. >> got to leave it there, guys. thanks very much, jamal simmons and mary matalin, they will be back. it's enough to make botox users furrow their brows. quite an uproar on a proposed tax to raise taxes to pay for health care reform. jack cafferty is standing by with your e-mails. and another member of john mccain's family is making his mark on twitter, this time behind the camera. and the pentagon faces questions about the alleged ft. hood gunman and whether he was in fact an islamic extremist. if so, could the military have simply given him the boot?
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the cafferty file. jack? >> question this hour, should the government tax medical procedures like botox, tummy tucks and liposuction to help pay for the cost of health care reform?
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why not impose a tax on these items and attempt to limit their consumption? cruel. if you didn't see your e-mail here, go to my blog at cnn.com/caffertyfile. wolf? >> very cruel indeed, jack. thank you. to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now, she's gone from a little known tv host to national icon, known to all by her first name. oprah, but she's giving up her throne as the talk show queen. what's behind oprah's stunning move? what happens next? right after that controversial advice on mammograms, there are now some new recommendations on how women should be screened for
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cervical cancer. could less really be more when it comes to good health? and while the army investigates the ft. hood killings, are there ways to check for extremism in the ranks? and what about outside influences? we're taking a closer look at some chilling messages from a radical cleric. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." > after 25 seasons on the air, the queen of daytime tv will give up her well-worn sofa, but at the end of the oprah show that doesn't necessarily mean the end of oprah winfrey's broadcasting career. cnn's kareen wynter has more on the media mogul's announcement today and her next move. kareen? >> reporter: wolf, oprah winfrey's announcement about her impending departure marks the end of an era for a media mogul embarking on an exciting new chapter. >> welcome to the very first
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national "oprah winfrey show." >> reporter: back in 1986 she was a little known talk show host making her national debut. today oprah winfrey is a one-woman multi-media conglomera conglomerate, and everyone knows her on a first name basies. >> oprah has been on the air forever, and she's just kind of a part of everyone's life. >> she's an icon. >> reporter: many oprah fans tell me they are shocked by her decision to pull the plug on her show no september. she told her audience and viewers at home that they have enriched her life beyond measure. >> when cameras were done rolling and she came back and said i really do want to thank everybody, you know, you mean so much to me and she said it again which was really nice. >> reporter: it was vintage owe perhaps relatable and emotional. >> everybody seemed pretty sad and got emotional. i got a little teary eyed. >> reporter: you did? >> yeah, yeah. >> reporter: did she cry? >> yes, she did, yeah. she had to catch her breath and she got emotional.
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big day. >> reporter: there are restrictions on showing you the video just yet, but here's a taste of what oprah told her viewers. winfrey has been the highest rated daytime talk show host for most of her quarter century on national tv. we watched her chat with celebrities. >> never seen you like this. >> reporter: surprised her audience. built an empire and endorsed a president in her spare time. there were embarrassments, like the oprah book club selection that turned out to be bogus, but for most of her fans it's always been all about oprah. her longtime struggle with her weight speaking volumes about
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her i'm a lot like you appeal. >> i am mad at myself. i am embarrassed. i can't believe i'm still talking about weight. >> reporter: oprah's common touch has given her the midas touch. she's worth an estimated $2.7 billion. she's sinking some of her fortune into a new cable tv venture, the oprah winfrey network. it's scheduled to debut in january 2011, just a few months after she ends her reign as the queen of daytime talk. >> i don't think i could be here without her. i think that she has blazed a trail that is -- she's an amazing, amazing woman. >> reporter: we heard how emotional oprah was during today's show, but, wolf, she was even more emotional when she broke the news to her staff late last night. she showed them clips of the finales of landmark tv shows like "cheers," "seinfeld" and "the cosby show."
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>> she's in chicago, and as you said she turns books into best-sellers, entrepreneurs into millionaires. they call tlt oprah effect. let's talk about oprah winfrey's unprecedented impact on the entertainment industry and even politics. howard kurtz is a writer for "the washington post" and host of cnn's "reliable sources." howie, thanks very much for coming in. how influential has oprah winfrey been? >> i don't think there's anybody that can even touch her in television, wolf. she -- her show was, you know, a destination for everybody from the aspiring authors who want that had big boost to celebrities in rehab who are coming out of rehab and politicians who needed some image rehab. that's why sarah palin this week started her tv blitz with "the oprah winfrey show," and i just think that her influence transcends television, and she really has become, as we saw in that set-up piece, a cultural figure. >> how has she done it? how has she grown into this amazing force in america? >> well, you know, people forget, wolf, when she started
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her show, the whole talk television genre was seen as kind of working the tawdry side of the street, but there came a point when she decided to be more uplifting and to take a more positive route to dealing with people's problems, and, you know, she -- she -- you could just see the emotion oozing out of her. she laughed. she cried. she discussed her own problems and so millions of women felt like she was their friend. she was a part of their lives. she was appointment television, and i think that is a big part of her success. >> but the fact that she's amassed, what, $2.5 billion, with a "b," means she's been an incredibly savvy businesswoman as well. >> yeah. that's part of the understated story here is that she became this sort of fortune 500 company who could launch other people's careers merely by anointing them. dr. phil, rachael ray, dr. oz, all sort of oprah creations, and it is really striking to me, you know, we should not -- first of all, she's going to be there for
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two more years that it's amazing in and of itself that it's such a big story landing on the front page of "the new york times" today. oprah isn't going away. will make her living in front of a camera on the new cable channel that will make a boost for her. >> she endorsed barack obama, not hillary clinton. and sarah palin decided to launch her book on oprah's show. she's been a force in politics even though she's been reluctant to get too much involved, at least until barack obama's campaign. >> yeah. there were some who had their doubts that it was a good idea for oprah to step into a more partisan role by endorsing obama but i what struck by what an event that was, all the political reporters covered it, you know. not many talk show hosts could get that kind of reaction, but i think she steered away from politics after having made a couple of appearances with then candidate obama because she wants to appeal to the broad mass of america, not those who just happen to like the president. >> howard kurtz, thanks very much, howie, for coming in. >> thanks, wolf.
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>> i assume he'll have more on oprah's departure sunday on "reliable sources" airing here only on cnn 10:00 a.m. eastern, catch it if you can, and i think you should. jack cafferty is here with "the cafferty file." we'll catch him while we can as well. jack, were you ever a guest on oprah's show? >> no. >> i was once. >> you were? >> once. >> on the eve of the millennium back in december of 1999, if you remember. a lot of fear at that time that it was all over for all of us, as you recall. >> what do you mean if i remember, you mean if i remember the eve of the millennium. >> she came on to have me talk about what washington would do so we all survived. >> never had the pleasure. rudy giuliani may have his eye on becoming the next u.s. senator from the state of new york "the daily news" reporting he's strongly considering a run for hillary clinton former senate seat.
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giuliani's spokeswoman says he hasn't made up his mind yet. rudy has a history of making up his own mind and has no problem speaking, it unquoting adding when he decides he'll tell new yorkers on his own. republican national congressional committee says it would be not be appropriate to comment on any unannounced candidates though they say any credible republican could have a shot at capturing new york's senate seat. giuliani had earlier been considering a run for governor but reports say he decided against that. some suggest it's because he would likely have lost the governor's race to the potential democratic candidate andrew cuomo while he may have a better chance to win the senate seat. it's also reportsed that giuliani could use a senate seat as a stepping stone to run for president in 2012. well, been there, done that and not very well either. in 2008 giuliani was an early favorite for the republican nomination, but he self-destructed when he decided against putting a lot of time into the early voting states like iowa and new hampshire. he skipped the south carolina
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primary, planned to win big in florida. well, he got killed and that was that. anyway, here's the question. should rudy giuliani pursue a career in national politics? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blompingt you know, he was supposed to run against hillary clinton for that senate seat a bunch of years ago, and -- and it was being touted as maybe one of the great races for a u.s. senate seat ever, and then he was hit with prostate cancer and had to withdraw and she went on to be elected to the senate, so he may take another run at this. >> yeah. well, we'll see what he decides to do. running against hillary clinton is one thing. kirsten gillibrand, maybe another. >> might be a little different story, absolutely. >> thanks very much, jack. >> sure. first it was mammograms and now new guidelines for screening for cervical cancer. could fewer checkups really mean better health for women. and what should the u.s. military do when it suspects that there's an extremist in its ranks? can it act before a crime is actually committed? plus, it all began when she was
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accused of cutting a line in a walmart. now a young schoolteacher could face years in prison. today she took the stand in a racially charged case.
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as the military investigates the ft. hood killing they also look at how they might confront other extremists in uniform but first this story just coming into "the situation room" right now. brian todd has been doing more digging on major hasan. what are you finding out? >> reporter: we've just been told about the first hearing, court hearing, that major hasan will be having in this case. it's going to be tomorrow at his hospital room at ft. hood. i just got off the phone with his attorney john galligan who tells me that military prosecutors at ft. hood have told him they have requested a pre-trial confinement hearing tomorrow, saturday, at brook army medical center where hasan is being treated right now. that's near san antonio. this is his first court hearing since the shootings. a little bit of detail on this. galligan told me that hasan's commander has already said he's placing him or has placed him in pre-trial confinement, but this hearing will determine whether that designation for hasan is appropriate, whether other types of confinement might be appropriate.
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there is no pending decision to remove him from the hospital at this time, and the attorney, galligan, says he'll argue that this is all being done in a little bit of haste, that there should be a little more time given to all these proceedings given hasan's medical condition paralyzed below the waist. again, first court hearing for major hasan tomorrow at his hospital room, at his hospital bed, and the attorney, john galligan, says he'll be there, a government representative will be there, and he expects some kind of magistrate will be there. >> maybe they are just going to read to him the charges that have been -- the 13 counts of murder that have been filed against him? >> galligan said he's already been read those charges. this is really all about his confinement, kind of a technical matter, that his commanders have placed him in pre-trial confinement. this will essentially affirm that or maybe if a magistrate rules in hasan's favor or galligan's favor here that it could be lesbianed to some extent. galligan is concerned once he does get cleared to be discharged from the hospital he might be taken to a local jail or something like that, but this is really just all about, you
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know, the status of his confinement right now. >> you're working this story and will get some more but that's a dramatic development, brian. thanks very much for bringing it, a hearing in the hospital room tomorrow involving major hasan at ft. hood. a link meanwhile may be emerging between that massacre and a series of recent jihadist plots. cnn's jim acosta reports on the influence of a radical cleric. >> this is not the course that you want to take and just get a grade in it and then move on, you know. this is knowledge that you need to live with. >> reporter: a radical cleric who preaches jihad online imam ayou a leak was known to federal authorities long before his recent contacts with alleged ft. hood shooter nidal hasan. back in 2001 a public television crew videotaped one of awlaki's sermons at this mosque in northern virginia just weeks after the september 11th attacks. at that time the imam appeared to criticize the use of
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terrorism. >> the death and homicide of over 1 million civilians in iraq, the fact that the u.s. is supporting the deaths and killing of thousands of palestinians does not justify the killing of one u.s. civilian in new york city or washington, d.c. >> reporter: but as it turns out, not only was hasan attending that same mosque in 2001, so were three 9/11 hijackers. >> the fbi and the counterterrorism community know al awlaki well. he has been the subject of interest and investigation since -- before and after he left the united states in 2002. >> reporter: born in the u.s. and now believed to be living and blogging from yemen, awlaki hopes to inspire holy war and a recent lecture series he translated into english called "constantsz on the path to jihad" described as a how-to guide for western home-grown
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terrorists. >> i referred to what awlaki puts out is radical islam for dummies. >> reporter: if it he says when the muslim is in his land, he performs jihad. no borders or barriers stop t.federal authorities believe those lectures inspired a number of terrorist blots in the u.s., canada and britain, including a plan to attack ft. dix in new jersey in 2007. one convicted plotter in that case was recorded by federal agents saying since i heard this lecture, brother, i want everyone to hear about it. you know why? because he gives it to you raw and uncut. >> from yemen you a lackey is able to put out these h how-to-manuals and the jihadies on the internet are referring to the ft. hood shooter as a drone, as al qaeda's version of a predator drone, and you can say that you a l anwar al awlaki is at the other end of that. >> reporter: counterterrorism experts believe there were were enough red flags to indicate
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that nidal hasan was in contact with a well-known jihadist. jim acosta, cnn, washington. >> as the u.s. military investigates the alleged ft. hood killer, it's also looking into how it might uncover extremists in uniform. let's go live to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. barbara, what are you finding out? >> reporter: well, wolf, here's the key question. were major hasan's alleged activities prior to the ft. hood shooting incident a violation of military regulation? should he have been reported? it's still unclear to what degree major nidal malik hasan's beliefs were considered so extreme that his superiors needed to be alerted, but if the military knows there is an extremist in its ranks, can it do anything even before a crime is committed? the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff says yes. >> my expectation is for, you know, for any commander to
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certainly be aware of those kinds of things and then to take appropriate action, to certainly not sit idly by but to address it. >> reporter: joining extremist organizations is prohibited. the army defines an extremist organization as one which advocates racial, gender or ethnic hatred or intolerance or advocates the use of force, violence or unlawful means to deprive individuals of their rights. in fact, commanders can discipline troops for these activities under the rules for maintaining good order and discipline. if it's severe enough, the person could be discharged. current rules state from the 1990s when the army found white supremacists inside the ranks. retired general john king commanded ft. bragg, north carolina, when two soldiers were put on trial for racially motivated murders. he says the current policy may need to be updated. >> i suspect strongly that after
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we conduct these investigations we will find that our policies will need revision again to account for the specific behavior anded aitudes as expressed by radicalis mists or extremists. >> reporter: right now troops are not allowed to undertake actions supporting extremist organizations or activities including meetings, fund-raising activities, recruiting or training members or distributing literature supporting execs extremist causes. king believes individual soldiers must be willing to take action. >> it shouldn't have to be an act of moral courage on behalf of a soldier to have to report behavior that we should not be tolerating inside our military organizations. it should an obligation. >> reporter: so, you see, wolf, when you look at these regulations they really dated back several years to deal with the issue of white supremacists in the u.s. military. now, it's a different question,
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equally delicate and sensitive military officials say right now, how do you deal with the question of religion and extremist groups? people like general keane say the regulations need to be updated. admiral mullen doesn't disagree. they are looking at this matter right now, but admiral mullen points out people are entitled to their private religious beliefs. it's a very delicate question, wolf. >> very delicate indeed, barbara. thanks very much. good story. the sordid trial of an american student in italy coming to a closed. accused of killing her british roommate. how does the evidence stack up. and unexpected rewards for local fisherman. stay with us. and even reach new global markets. so your business is more adaptable, more efficient and more profitable. hey, the opportunities are out there. seize them with ups. is anybody else thirsty?
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fredericka whitfield is
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monitoring some other important stories incoming into "the situation room" right now. fred, what's going on. >> reporter: hello, wolf, hello, everyone. in italy closing arguments are under way in the long murder trial of a 22-year-old american amanda knox and her former italian boyfriend. the prosecution summation is expected to continue through tomorrow. knox and rafael sollecito are accused of sexual assault and murder in the death of knox's british roommate meredith kercher two years ago. both deny the charges. a day of unprecedented heavy rain is blamed for massive flooding in england's picturesque lake district. military helicopters rescued scored of people. emergency services say more than 200 people had to be rescued. one police officer died when a bridge was suddenly swept away. and he may have admitted to lying about his use of drugs, but the association of tennis professionals says it won't
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re-open andre agassi's case. agassi revealed in his recent autobiography that he lied in 1997 when he said that he unwittingly took chrystal meth. atp chairman says that they cannot revisit the case since agassi is retired and no longer playing on the tour. wolf? >> he was a great player, there's no doubt about that. >> reporter: he was indeed. no one disputes that. >> no one disputes that. thanks, fred. accused of cutting in line at a walmart, a woman could go to prison. accounts of what happened vary widely and now there's claims that racism was involved. stand by. first mammograms, now pap smears. changing cancer guidelines causing controversy. we're taking a closer look. and senator john mccain and his daughter both tweet. so does another mccain. it's not so much what this mccain is tweeting about but from where. we believe in creating cleaner energy that creates new jobs. being the number one manufacturer of wind turbines in america. and developing lower emission,
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fuel-efficient aircraft engines. ecomagination means growing the green economy by harnessing our most powerful resource- imagination. the american renewal is happening. right now. (announcer) we understand. you want time to enjoy the holidays.
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to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now, kidnapped by pirates last month, a british couple is seen on camera now for the first time. the stress of their ordeal is clearly showing. they say their captors are losing patience, and they fear for their lives. it's the kind of abuse that can cause a person to lose everything. we learn what congress is doing to help you from becoming a victim of fraud, but will it
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make a difference? and oprah winfrey marking time. she says she will hang up the talk show after the 25th season. swan song or another shrewd business move? we talked to some of the people she made rich and famous. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." first it was mammograms. now it's pap smears. women face dramatic and controversial shifts in the guidelines for screening two types of cancer. cnn's brooke baldwin is over at the cnn center. brooke, what are you learning? >> reporter: it's pretty interesting, wolf. you know, we talked to two different doctors today, one being the head of the american cancer society, the other a lead oncologist at emory university. they both say when it comes to the cervical cancer screenings less is more, but the challenge here changing really a culture. in a single week, two sweeping changes recommended for women
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and health care, two medical panels calling for a delayed start and reduced frequency of screenings for both breast and cervical cancer. >> actually i was kind of relieved to see the new guidelines. >> reporter: while some patients and doctors may feel fewer tests are counterintuitive to good health, this doctor says it's time for a culture change. >> you know, did i try actually to tell patients you don't need to come in every year, i'll see you in two years and they don't like that. it makes them nervous. >> reporter: when it comes to cervical cancer screenings the doctor agrees that less is more. the american cancer society estimates there will be 11,270 new cases of cervical cancer this year, but of that number, a tiny fraction will be girls younger than 21. that is good news, according to the society's chief medical officer and a reason for doctors to start testing more conservatively. >> cancer control is a relatively new science. as that science evolves doctors
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are going to become much more aware that the science exists and perhaps a little bit more conservative in their use of screening. >> reporter: while dr. otis breauly says doctors may test less frequency for cervical cancer he disagrees with reducing the frequency of mammograms and emphasizes the need foreadditional screenings for colon cancer in men and women. >> the major problem in the united states is really more than half of people who should be getting that screen for which there's no question it reduces risk of death. more than half of people who should be getting that screen aren't getting any kind of screening. >> reporter: meanwhile, the doctor is hopeful new guidelines len courage dialogue between patients and doctors and lead to a more holistic approach. >> it is, it is. it's really changing the way we look at doing a gyn exam on a patient. the health care of a woman, it's not so generalized. it's really more focused on each individual patient which is
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really i think welcome change for both the patient and the physician. >> reporter: one other point i want to make here, i also asked both of the doctors why did boast new guidelines pop up in the same week, and isn't it perhaps a little odd that this is the same week that the senate might start debate on health care, but both doctors, wolf, they said total coincidence. >> total coincidence. >> reporter: that's what they say. >> thank you, that's the suggestion jirkts number of swine flu cases is falling around the nation. 43 states now report widespread flu activity that's down from 46, but the centers for disease control and prevention causes the holidays could cause a new spike in h1n1 with the potential for germs to spread over thanksgiving. the cdc is also keeping a close eye on north carolina where tamiflu-resistant swine flu cluster is reported. officials are watching for signs that the virus is mutating making drugs used to treat tin effective. about 52 drug resistant cases are reported globally.
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we're watching this closely. the world health organization says it's looking into some swine flu infections in norway where the virus has mutated. officials in norway say the mutation could possibly cause more severe disease because that it infects tissue deeper in the airway. pregnant women are one of the groups most at risk for h1n1, yet many mothers-to-be are still shunning the swine flu shot. cnn's john zarella tells us of the tragic ordeal of a pregnant woman -- the ordeal the woman went through and her message for other expectant moms. >> we come out here and walk around. >> reporter: time and again hallucinations. >> i had this white dog that always came in the room with me. >> reporter: and that's after you woke up? >> and i swore he was real. i heard his chains rattling. >> reporter: you a bribe nearly died last summer. the child she was carrying did at 27 weeks. last july she came down with
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what she thought was just a cold, no big deal. >> i had a sore throat and a low-grade fever. >> reporter: a week later she was in intensive care at wellington regional medical center. aubry was in such bad shape that within 24 hours of arriving here at the emergency room doctors had to put her into a medically induced coma to keep her from pulling out the tubes that were keeping her alive. aubry didn't know it. she wouldn't, for weeks, until she was brought out of coma, but she had swine flu, h1n1. within days her lungs filled with fluid. >> this left lung is completely dpil filled. the right upper lung is completely filled. >> reporter: dr. eagle was looking at the x-rays of a woman deathly ill. >> that's viral pneumonia and this is the h1n1. >> reporter: the h1n1 vaccine was not available when aubry came down with it. she's telling her story because now that it is she can't understand why large numbers of pregnant women are not getting
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it. a survey conducted for healthy women found only one in four pregnant women or new mothers plan to get the h1n1 vaccine. >> i'd much rather get the side effects of whatever the shot is going to give you over what i had. i mean, it's -- i wouldn't wish it on my worst enemies. >> reporter: pregnant women are considered a higher risk for hospitalization from complications. >> they need to take seriously coughs and colds more than anyone else. >> reporter: doctors who treated her say opdyke's case is an example of what can happen. she got pneumonia. her lungs collapsed six times. she spent five weeks in an induced coma. the clock was going but you weren't -- >> weren't there, yeah. >> reporter: she was hospitalized for three months. in distress the child she was carrying had to be taken and died within seven minutes. aubrey didn't know until she was brought out of the coma.
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>> my mom said you had the swine flu and i was in shock, and i looked at her and i said i never want to be pregnant again. i was so scared. >> reporter: aubrey's illness was an ordeal for the entire family. her husband, mother and 5-year-old daughter who was so looking forward to having a little sister. >> we tell my daughter that god wanted to have a baby to play with. >> reporter: since leaving the hospital in september aubrey has gotten stronger each day. she's also gotten something else, the h1n1 vaccine. john zarella, cnn. >> senator john mccain is famous for his tweeting, and another member of the mccain family is engaged in tweets as well. we'll bring you the situation online. and for the first time since their capture last month, a british couple held hostage by pirates speaking out on camera. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." but this malibu is a best buy. i heard that from consumers digest. it offers better highway mileage than a comparable camry or accord.
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estimated 33 highway. i saw that on the epa site. so how come the malibu costs so little. it's a chevy. you have cop hair. the award-winning chevy malibu. compare it to anyone and may the best car win. and when my symptoms-the coughing, wheezing, tightness in my chest came back- i knew i had to see my doctor. he told me i had choices in controller medicines. we chose symbicort. symbicort starts to improve my lung function within 15 minutes. that's important to me because i know the two medicines in symbicort are beginning to treat my symptoms and helping me take control of my asthma. and that makes symbicort a good choice for me. symbicort will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. and should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort contains formoterol. medicines like formoterol may increase the chance of asthma-related death. so, it is not for people whose asthma is well controlled on other asthma medicines. see your doctor if your asthma does not improve or gets worse. i know symbicort won't replace a rescue inhaler.
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within 15 minutes symbicort starts to improve my lung function and begins to treat my symptoms. that makes symbicort a good choice for me. you have choices. ask your doctor if symbicort is right for you. (announcer) if you cannot afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help.
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a british couple held hostage by somali pirates now speaking out on camera for the
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first time since they were kidnapped last month. paul and rachel chandler spoke in the presence of armed gunmen. take a look at this. >> we're unharmed and in reasonable physical health. mentally we are under great stress and threatened. our kidnappers are losing patience. they are concerned that there has been no response at all to their demands for money. we ask the government and the people of britain and our families to do whatever you can to at least open negotiations with these people about money so that perhaps our lives can be brought back. we have been threatened that there is a terrorist gang at large in the country looking for us. we are also concerned that these people will lose patience and will not feed us, and i have no doubt that they will not hesitate to kill us, perhaps
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within the week or so of now if there is no response. >> that video comes from britain's channel 4 news which has relatives of the hostages agreed that the video should in fact be broadcast. while somali pirates wreak havoc off the coast of africa, their reign of terror is providing some unexpected rewards for local fishermen. freelance journalist sam farmer has this report. >> reporter: they are celebrating their catch, hauling in hundreds of kilos of fish, everything from barracuda to a giant stingray. this is a small fishing town on the coast of kenya. most of the surrounding villages are mired in poverty, but for the fishermen life is looking up. for they are netting huge catches here, earning in kenyan schills over 50 times the average daily wage. >> you can make even for one day 20,000 or 50,000 a day.
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>> yesterday i got 20,000. >> reporter: it's these pirates from neighboring somalia who have turned out to be the fishermen's friend. for the highway men of the high seas have scared away the foreign fishing fleets with over 40 attacks on shipping in the last five months alone, and while a naval task force from more than ten countries plays cat and mouse with the pirates, these kenyan fishermen are in the money because the factory ships have fled from the most dangerous waters in the world. >> if the big ship are very far, not here at the sea shore here. >> happy that the ships are not coming this side. if they are coming this side, all the fish will disappear. >> reporter: for decades foreign ships deprived these fishing dows of a livelihood. somali piracy began partly by way of revenge, but that piracy today allows big-game fishermen
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in kenya to enjoy their best season in over 40 years. the hooks are baited and within moments a strapping sail fish is hauled in. this year's catch exceeding anything this boat's captain has seen before. >> yeah. this season was very good. i've never seen a good season like this season. plenty of sail fish, marlin, everything, king fish, really, really fantastic this season. >> reporter: and marine biologists agree that with the factory ships now in retreat the fish have begun to return. >> all the indicators are there that the fishery is rehkopf -- recovering. >> reporter: so there's a silver
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lining to the havoc caused by the somali pirates and it's found here off the kenyan coast where the pirates have done more to preserve fish stocks than anybody else and where kenyan fishermen are reaping the rewards. >> that report from journalist sam farmer. from tornadoes to hurricanes to mavis snowfalls, much of the world is at the mercy of the elements, but what if, what if we could control the weather? let's go to our meteorologist and severe weather expert chad myers. it's a good question. what if, chad? >> reporter: well, we have to realize, wolf, that katrina had the same force as 50,000 atom bombs. you wouldn't want to put atom bombs in a hurricane because all you'd have is basically a nuclear hurricane, but the chinese have tried something to alleviate their drought. i know that looks like war, but those cannons are not shooting artillery shells. they are shooting silver iodide into a storm. now the storm already existed.
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don't get me wrong. they are not making low pressure centers. it was already raining. it was already very cold, and it was ready to snow, but what the chinese did, they planted silver iodide dusts basically up into the clouds to enhance the amount of snowfall. did it do it? they think so. they got 12 inches of snow in a place they only thought there was going to be 10. is that a big deal? i'm not so sure but they were very proud. what we have china here. about as big as the u.s. east to west, north to south. so if you make one small little spot where you push the silver iodide in it and let's say it's near seattle, you might get some snow into eugene, if the wind was coming from the north, but you probably wouldn't get that snow all the way down through the sierra. it could have a small effect, but right now, wolf, we are way too small of specs in the universe to think we can do much to mother nature, at least for
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now. >> thanks very much for that, chad myers. on the stand a woman accused of cutting in line at walmart and assaulting police. she gives her side of the story amid claims of racism was involved. and the tweeting mccains. senator mccain's son takes twitter to new heights, literally. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." playing ) - ( thunder rumbling ) - ( rain pattering ) ( tinkling ) with 12 world's first innovations, the lexus ls doesn't simply lead an industry, it inspires one.
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here's something on twitter, one we don't normally hear about. john mccain iv graduated from the u.s. naval cadity. according to twitter, he's loving it. these are photos posted by ensign john mccain iv. he's been along for the ride while on temporary duty. a spokesman for the navy says he has been getting experience while he awaits his pilot
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training which is going to happen in the next few weeks. this is senator john mccain's son known as jack who graduated from the u.s. navel academy in the last few months. we heard less from jacques and h his -- now we're seeing jack on twitter. you have senator mccain who's got about 1.5 million followers. meghan mccain who's got a respectable 75,000 or so. so jack mccain is trailing there with a couple of thousand. he's aware that he's not supposed to say anything controversial. he's not going to go there. he writes there are days when i wish i could be much more political on twitter, but i wear the uniform of my country and must refrain. >> we'll follow him on twitter.
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thanks very much for that. let's go back to jack, he's got "the cafferty file." you know, i'm on twitter too, have i ever mentioned that to you? >> twitter.com/wolfblitzercnn. it goes out to 170,000 people. >> do they call them twits? >> they call them tweets. the question this hour, should rudy giuliani pursue a career in national politics? a story in the new york paper today that he may run for hillary clinton's old senate seat. he might use it as a springboard for another tribe at the white house.
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on tf he comes across as stride dent and accusing. eric in atlanta says, he's already tried it before, 9/11 made him popular for a minute, but he didn't connect with the people for whatever reason. i think he would make a fine loser for the republican party, so i say go for it. polly in nevada, nope, as a -- however as his run for president last year really bore out his flaws as a candidate for any higher office. his time on the stage as a political star as passed. absolutely jerry says he's the only republican other than fred thompson that i would vote for. steve says sure, all the republican party needs is another fare-mongering chicken little.
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ian says i'm so sick and tired of rudy giuliani trying to push his name back into the spotlight. he is a narcissistic hack. mike in oklahoma city, shameless slime ball, he's twied to squeeze as much personal gain out of september 11 as he can. and lucy in san francisco says if sarah palin is the alternative, then yes. if you didn't see your e-mail here, then you can go to my blog at cnn.com/caffertyfile. oprah winfrey says she's moving on, but what it will mean to her vast financial holdings when she shuts down her current talk show.
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it all began when she was accused of cutting a line in a walmart when things escalated. now nearly three years later, he find her fate in the hands of a jury, she could end up facing years in prison. david, how did it go today? >> wolf, we could not have been
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listening to more sharply disstikt stories in that courtroom. the official story, what the prosecutor wants her to believe, is that heather willis -- insulting employees threatening another customer and when police arrived, she said that she read the police officers, cursed them, getting arrested and then forced -- caused them both, two officers injury during that melee that ensued after that. now the defense says that everyone overreacted, heather was in line right where she was supposed to be, that the employees and police overreacted and that now everyone's trying to come up with a story to make heather look like the one who caused all this. now it's going to be going to the jury, the jury has this in their hands and the swrur is going to be looking at what both sides agree is the single most important piece of evidence is that one piece of videotape showing when this all started. it's the point where heather was
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at the checkout aisle pushing the items back belonging to the customer next to her. the prosecution says when you look at that, you see a woman that is going ballistic and about to cause a disturbance, when the defense looks at that they say you are looking at a woman who is being ignored, who's not being waited on and was in line right where she was supposed to be and everyone after this overreacted and that's how we got to where we are today. >> i know there were some protests in town, did race actually come up in the course of the trial? >> it came up in one very short spot where heather testified that an officer taunted her on the way out of the building telling her to go back to the ghetto. a prosecutor took great offense at that and in closing arguments -- then the defense stood up, objected to that and
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then went from there later asking the judge for a mistrial for that and other comments that the prosecutor made. >> david mattingly will stay on top of this trial, we'll let you know what his verdict is. to our viewers happening now, the best political team on television, on these stories, the alleged ft. hood gunman is just hours away from his first hearing, and not in court but in his own hospital room. we'll learn about his condition and whether he fully understands what's going on. are too many different agencies now trying to protect consumers and failing completely? there's a new push for a single watch dog with bite, with big business pushing back big-time. will the end of oprah winfrey's talk show weaken her financial empire? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room".
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tomorrow night will be fight night in the u.s. senate, literally hours from now senators will start proceeding on a sweeping health care reform bill. democrats say republicans want to scare you, republicans say the real fear are the democrats slammed. around 8:00 p.m. tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. eastern, the face-off, a vote on whether to advance the debate to allow it to go forward. among these democrats, who will block it, who might back it? we'll go to senior congressional correspondent dana bash, dana, still a little bit of mystery out there? >> a little bit of mystery but at least one senator who was a little bit mysterious has taken that away. ben nelson of nebraska he announced today that he will give his party leaders that vote tomorrow night. if you don't like a bill, why block your own opportunity to amend it? so the president can cross ben nelson off the list, but there's
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a few democratic senators who could put the brakes on his top priority and they're being publicly coy. >> reporter: behind the scenes it's a democratic centralable to get enough votes to start the senate debate. >> we're working hard to bring all democrats together from 60 votes together to proceed to this historic debate. >> and all eyes are on one of the last democratic holdouts, the senator inside this office, blanch lincoln of arkansas. >> senator blanch lincoln's office. >> reporter: phones are ringing off the hook, constituents trying to get through to try to influence her vote. lincoln tries to stop -- she's got a tough re-election battle next year in a state obama last by 20 points and conservative voters now worry that the health care bill spends too much and
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gives too much power to the government. democratic leaders are well aware of her political pickle but try to pressure her with this argument. >> i would say that senator lincoln, most people in arkansas would be relieved and happy to see health care reform. i believe is not good for america, it didn't good for any of us in congress. >> another democratic senator who had this formally announced her vote is mary landrieu is louisiana showing her working with staff, going through the 2,000-plus page health care bill. one thing she'll find is a sweetener democratic voters added. $100 million in medicate assistance she's been trying to get from her home state of louisiana still struggling from katrina. landrieu says she still has a lot of concern about the substance of the bill like it's cost and the fact that she doesn't like a government run
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let care plan, but she has been much more positive about the fact that she's looking towards -- that kind of statement and others are really giving democratic leadership sources that i talked to more confidence that they actually will get the vote tomorrow night to start the debate. >> the u.s. conference of bishops have just released a letter to the senate saying that the abortion language in this senate bill is enormously disappointing, completely unacceptable. here's the question, how is this going to affect the vote tomorrow night? >> the vote tomorrow night probably not so much, but this probably will have an inpact on what ultimately pa it was the senate and certainly what ultimately passes congress. you remember the catholic bishop, they had enormous power in the house, it was basically because of them that they have had very strict restrictions in the house. they are not happy that the senate doesn't follow suit. it doesn't seem right now as
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though there are the same kind of democrats in terms of those who are really looking towards guidance, but in terms of ultimately will pass congress, the fact that they're once again laying down the marker. >> so complicated, every little part of this piece of legislation. dana, thanks very much. if you think the health care reform effort in congress already has been a marathon, just wait. there's plenty more to come after tomorrow's test vote. if keeping track of it all gives you a headache, don't worry, jessica yellin is here to make it very, very understandable. jessica, explain how this procedure works. >> we will try. the question is, do words like culture and filibuster make you want to change the channel, we want to give you an easy guide to what the senate is up to. you have heard that the senate will be voting on health care
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this weekend, you probably think that means we'll hear a final decision. but no, in congress, nothing's that easy. before it ends, there will be months of dpe baits. tomorrow night is what's called a vote on the motion to provoke culture on the motion. what that means is, do we agree to start debating this thing? they need 60 votes to move ahead. and some senators could likely vote yes just to keep the ball rolling. so if they vote yes tomorrow night, what comes next? weeks of debate, this is when they add amendments, discuss amendments, amend amendments, and discuss amendments. christmas will probably come and go. senate leaders that before new year's they'll hold big vote number two, the vote to end debate and the third big vote is
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the final up-or-down vote on the senate version of the bill, so what we're seeing this weekend is really just a start. >> there thereby some other major votes along the way. >> yes, yes, of course and you and dan were one of them like abortion, immigration, a public option, expect major votes on those along the way. the three we point out are the ones that say whether we inch forward or not. >> don't go away, jessica, a good explanation for our viewers. let's go to jack who's got "the cafferty file." 8:00 tomorrow night i know you're going to be glued to your tv screen. >> actually i'm going to put the brown socks on the left side of the drawer and move the black ones to the right. the national debt tops $12 trillion. what's particularly troubling is the rate at which it continues
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to grow. nearly $5 trillion during the eight years of the bush administration followed by $1.6 trillion so far by president obama in less than a year. no surprise when you consider all of the spending, wars, bailouts, stimulus package etc. under the current administration. also the recession, record unemployment means that there are fewer tax dollars coming in to offset government spending, but the debt is also costing us huge dollars to maintain. the interest alone on the national debt in this country in the next decade is expected to be nearly $5 trillion. if interest rates go up, and they probably will, the price will be even higher. in 2015, the interest on the national debt will equal one-third of all the federal income taxes collected that year. president obama's pledged to take serious steps to reduce america's debt. really? when? maybe after we spend another
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trillion dollars we don't have for health care reform. the only thing they're willing to cut is the taxpayers throat. here's the question, how much faith do you have that government will do anything meaningful about the soaring national debt? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. oprah tells her audience that she's giving up her talk show. >> oprah's been on the air forever and it's kind of a part of everyone's life. >> the tv icon's reach is far beyond daytime television. this chevy traverse has better mileage than honda pilot. the all-new chevy equinox has better mileage than honda cr-v. and chevy malibu has better mileage than accord.
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10.22%, that's the national average for unemployment, but a tushing report says things are growing worse in individual states. could this suffering cause the obama administration to suffer politically. let's go to suzanne malveaux. >> these are very important numbers to look at, the labor department released a survey that showed in 29 states the unemployment rate has actually gone up, including here in washington, d.c. it has gone down in 13 states and this is really more than just numbers, wolf, we are talking about more people now suffering because they are unemployed and now what we see
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happening is that more people are tending to blame president obama in his economic team. despite some economic indicators suggesting the economy has turned a corner. an opinion research poll shows a whopping 82% of the public. and the question of who to blame is taking front and center. just take a look at the grilling, treasury secretary timothy geithner got from republican lawmakers. >> you have to take responsibility for your decisions. >> i take responsibility for anything i am part of. but i can't take responsibility is for the legacy of crises. >> two years into the recession, the blame seems to be shifting, americans are less likely to point to the republicans for the economic mess and instead are angry at the democrats. the same cnn opinion research poll shows 38% blame the gop for the country's current economic
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problems. that's down 15 points for may, when 53% blamed them. cnn deputy political director paul stein hauser says that's bad for the democrats and president obama. >> these numbers are troubling for the president. it's going to be harder and harder for this white house to blame the previous administration for the economic woes. this economy is turning into barack obama's economy, and this recession is turning into barack obama's recession. >> americans are still very much divided over whether the president's economic policies are actually working. 36% say they have improved economic conditions. 28% say they have made things worse. 35% what the white house has done has had no effect. one of the reasons americans are dissatisfied is that they're concerned about the ballooning federal budget deficit. 2/3 believe the government should be working harder to balance it. >> the deficit needs to be
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brought down, the war is not an excuse. >> reporter: when you take a look at the latest statistics, there are three times the number of democratic lawmakers who are facing races as opposed to republicans so whether or not voters see them part of the solution or the problem could make a very big difference. >> those numbers you have over there were senate races? no, those were house races, 36 republicans and 12 republican districts. but presumably more on the way, suzanne malveaux working the story for us, thanks very much. oprah winfrey making it official today, announcing it's over, she's getting ready to end her 25 years as a syndicated talk show host, queen of daytime tv, officially announcing she's moving on. she's going to be spending another almost two years in the seat in chicago, but then she has some other plans. let's talk about what this means
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because she certainly has been an icon for all of us. joining us now, our senior political analyst gloria borger, ben stein, paul begala, and joe johns. also joining us from chicago our chief business correspondent ali velshi. $2.5 billion, her estimated worth, how did she do it? >> oprah is a phenomenon. oprah started in 1984 as an anchor of a chicago morning show. within months she had overtaken donahue, and donahue was the gold standard at the time. this is somebody who appeals to people right from the beginning, she had a particular appeal to women across america and those women have stayed with her and grown with her into the phenom
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nom nonthat she is today. her influence has grown far beyond women across all demographics. >> ben stein, the oprah phenomenon is amazing. >> it's phenomenal, i have no question that she was instrumental in getting obama elected. she turned out the black vote, she turned out the women voters, she turned out in a way that i don't think any other television personality has ever turned out. and what a great american story, born in extreme poverty, victim of sexual abuse, lived in terrible conditions, and then when her town exfloated with racism holding her down, she was unstoppable. >> only in america can that happen, paul. >> it took enormous courage for her to come out and endorse barack obama. there was a woman running against barack obama at the time and she took kind of a hit both in ratings and popularity, and
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really whether it's left or right, i admire anybody who sticks their neck out. she lost a little bit of it to do something she believed in and she's also trying to get us to read. she's out there every day telling everybody to read "night" or "loving the time of cholera." >> when she makes mistakes, she admits it. when she interviewed that author frye on the air and he was a total fraud and a known any, she brought him back to talk about it. she apologized to her viewers. she did stick her neck out, because she's kind of the anti-politician in a way and when she turned to politics, it was a great risk for her. >> and when sarah palin decided to announce her book tour, who did she go on. >> she ends up on oprah before she ends up on the three major networks. but the thing that's very interesting about her is that
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politics may miss her a little bit, but business is going to miss her so bad. i used to work years and years ago in local television and those local television executives right now who had oprah as a lead in to their 6:00 news are -- they are smiling s the malox. >> oprah took the lead on the financial crisis. she went out of her way on her shows to express how people can make do, how they can live with less, how they manage through the recession, so she's really become a thought leader and that's what you're going to see when she moves on to her next enterprise, she's still going to have the influence politically and socially and economically that we have seen her develop over the last 25 years. >> this is not going to be a one-hour syndicated show. this is going to be oprah all the time.
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>> what i really admire about her is her entrepreneurship obviously, but leaving this show at the very top, knowing when the right time is to say, okay, i've succeeded like nobody else has succeeded in this business, so guess what, i'm going to repot, i'm going to do something else. not that it's a huge risk, it's just that she wants another challenge really and she's setting one up for herself and it will be interesting to watch what she does next. >>. i don't think there's anything she can't do. as soon as i heard about this, i thought, is she going to run for president? i do not see a reason that she would not be a viable candidate. >> i hadn't thought about her in that context, but what-what people crave is authenticity. i haven't met her so i can't say, but she strikes people through the camera as real.
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we have more to discuss, so stand by. we're also getting new information, major hasan in ft. hood, texas, baselirian todd wo his story. we'll be right back. (announcer) they've been tested, built and driven like no other. and now they're being offered like no other. come to the winter event and get an exceptional offer on the mercedes-benz of your dreams. it's our way of showing a little holiday spirit. but hurry - the offer ends soon. and when my symptoms-the coughing, wheezing, tightness in my chest came back- i knew i had to see my doctor. he told me i had choices in controller medicines. we chose symbicort. symbicort starts to improve my lung function within 15 minutes. that's important to me because i know the two medicines in symbicort are beginning to treat my symptoms
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todd's working his sources getting some new information on major hasan at ft. hood. in the meantime, let's check in with fredericka whitfield, she's monitoring some other important stories income telling situation room. >> hello wolf, the justice department plans to drop charges against one black water guard involved in a deadly 2007 baghdad shooting. he faced manslaughter and weapons charges, the shooting left 17 iraqis dead and ultimately led the state department to cancel the lucrative contract to guard in iraq. black water said it's convoy was ambushed. and one person was killed this morning when a tour bus belonging to miley cyrus overturned on an interstate highway.
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virginia state police say the accident happened on interstate 85. attorneys for actor wesley snipes have appealed his three-year prison sentence for his federal tax conviction, snooips' aattorney says that he should have been allowed a hearing to determine a venue for his trial, new york or florida. snipes was convicted of three counts of willful failure to file income tax returns, he is free on bail while he appeals this case. he's accused in the massacre of 14 people at ft. hood. but major nadal hasan has been in intensive care since the shooting. now we hear he's awake and talking, how much does he really
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understand the challenges against him? there's going to be a hearing in his room tomorrow morning. what congress is doing to keep you from becoming a victim. which is why eggland's best... are the only eggs for me. in my busy kitchen, i love eggland's best... because they have less saturated fat, and great taste. that's why they're the only eggs... i make for my son. the chef. eggland's best. the better egg.
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hospital room as prosecutors accuse him of murder. we're getting new information about a first formal hearing in the case and just what major nadal malik hasan understands about the charges against him. let's bring in our brian todd, he's been doing some good reporting. >> we heard hasan is about to have his first pretrial hearing in this case at his hospital bed. john galligan tells us prosecutors requested this hearing tomorrow at brooke army medical center in san antonio. he has already been placed in pretrial confinement. meanwhile the attorney is giving us more details on the physical condition on the alleged ft. hood shooter. >> reporter: nadal hasan's attorney tells cnn hasan has been conversing with him from his bed. the attorney john galligan who did not want to be interviewed on tape says his conversations with hasan have been coherent,
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that hasan comprehends who galligan is and what the next steps are in the legal process. galligan says he last met with hasan last thursday. after about one hour, it was clear that hasan was fatigued and couldn't can't. galligan says he is paralyzed from the waist down. hasan has several guards around him. cnn is getting new details of hasan's alleged shooting rampage. john carter has met with victims and commanders at the base. carter says victims are telling him when the shooting first started, many of them started it was some kind of paint ball drill. they told him hasan had a laser sight on a gun. and victims are telling him this about who they think hasan wanted to hit. >> everyone has said that he's dargting toldiers and not civilians. because some of the civilians
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said he stopped, looked at them and passed over them. >> reporter: we have to stress these are secondhand accounts and eyewitness statements can often be inconsistent. one victim he spoke with, a soldier said that he was less than four feet away when hasan started shooting. then he told carter, he hollered allah akbar and told me to get down and then he shot me because i wouldn't get down. >> galligan says he's saddened by the congressman's remarks calls them inflammatory and prejudice dibble. >> we'll watch the story over the weekend with you, brian, thanks very much. more than 150 christian leaders are laying down their line. they're against abortion and gay marriage and they're pledging to protect religious freedoms. most of them are conservative evangelicals and they put out a document regarding what they call a call of conscience.
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>> i hope you will find in this declaration echoes of everything that we have heard in our hearts growing up in our faith traditions and growing up in this country that is always recognized life. marriage and freedom of religion, freedom of conscience as something foundational to who we are. >> other signers to this document include new york archbishop and focus on the family founder james dobson. let's focus on consumers and whether the u.s. government is watching their backs, some members of congress say there are way too many different agencies involved in protecting you and your money. let's bring in our national correspondent jessica yellin. what are you finding out? >> there is a huge political fight here in washington. it's over a proposal to create a powerful new agency whose only
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mission is to protect consumers. >> it that hunt is a victim that of the kind of consume -- economic crisis. >> i went on my own, i thought i was doing the right thing and this is where it ended. >> she lost the house she lived in for 17 years after she signed a new mortgage she didn't understand and couldn't afford. her broker did not make it clear her payments would skyrocket. >> i'm signing this thing, signing my home away and had no idea and no one was informing me that it's an justable rate. >> the problem? no single federal agency oversees all mortgages. instead, five agencies have a hand in it. and during the subprime mortgage crisis, some companies worked the loopholes. elizabeth war reason is a watch dog for congress. >> there are gaps in between and overlaps in the regulatory
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structure. >> mortgages are just one piece of a much bigger problem for consumers. across the federal government seven different agencies set rules for everything from loans to mortgages, credit cards and eninsurance products. so some companies play one regulator against another. now democrats in congress are switching a major overall that would organize these towers into one new consumer protection agency. >> our plan will stop abusive practices by creating an independent consumer financial protection agency with one mission and that is standing up for consumers. >> congressional republicans oppose the democrats plan but do support new streamlined consumer protections. >> i believe in regulations that makes markets more competitive. i believe in regulations that -- >> but business interests in they're ready for battle and
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have spent more than $334 million lobbying this year. they're led by the u.s. chamber of commerce. >> you see a multiplication of agencies. >> it creates a scheme where you have regulators who are really starting to decide who winners and losers are. >> because etta hunt just wants someone to speak for her. >> i would like for them to have somebody to keep tabs on all of these mortgage companies. >> so how would this agency work in theory? well it could mandate simpler contracts, it could have the power to sue companies for unfair practices and also try to close gaps in regulations, but the critics say it would limit our choices, if this kind of agency existed a decade ago, we would not have atms or debit cards. >> a lot of money at stake as well. >> thanks very much. don't go far.
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>> president obama faces challenges from fellow democrats on a number of key issues. does he have a growing problem within his own party? we're going to talk about that and more. em is leaving countless americans stranded. that's why aarp is fighting to put people first, not insurance companies. to protect medicare and keep drug costs down. and to ensure that no one is denied coverage due to age or health. because at aarp, we believe your health is worth fighting for. ♪
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president obama's facing major challenges guess what? from some of his fellow democrats. let's talk about this with our senior political analyst. contributor and democratic strategist paul begala and joe johns. john conyers, democrat, right, paul? >> major supporter of president obama. >> the chairman in the congress. listen to what he told our old friend bill press on the radio.
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>> holding hands out and beer on fridays in the white house and bowing down to every nutty right wing proposal about health care and saying on occasion that public options aren't all that important is doing a disservice to the barack obama that i first met who was an ardent single pay payer enthuse yas himself. >> this comes with the territory. i would love chairman conyers to create democrat but this is part of leading the country. sometimes you're going to disappoint your most ardent supporters. when ronald reagan was
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president, the editor of conservative digest said that mr. reagan is now seen as untrustworthy by many republicans because he betrayed his principles. . >> none of those guys was chairman of the house judicial dare committee. >> he will be subjected to pressures from all different directions, i think the key thing here he is paying attention, he's listening, he's very sharp and i think he's taking --? how much problems does the property have? >> he's going to have more coming from the horizon. if he sends more troops into afghanistan, i think these are things that are going to make them upset and while barack obama can get re-elected without those folks, in the midterm elections right away because
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those are the intense democrats who come out and vote in midterm elections and if they're disaffected, they'll stay home. >> why put his terrorists on trial except to appease the extreme left wing faction of his party. there's no reason to do it otherwise. he's listening to other kinds of people. >> expectations were so high for this president for so long especially on the left and now people are coming to the realization and he can only do so much. but going back to your example about ronald reagan, i also went back to look at his job approval ratings, the next year reagan was all the way down to 43 and then the year after that, it was 45 and why? because of the economy, he had a real bad recession and a tough ride there. and that's what obama's got now. >> but does the president and his chief of staff rahm emanuel? i think you know him and you
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work with him in the bill clinton administration when there was an anxious effort on the part of a lot of bill clinton's key political strategists to get these left wingers if you will to criticize the president, to make him seem more moderate and more reasonable than the most- >> president clinton really wanted to remake his party. i think he more inherited his party. governor clinton took on labor and nafta. we went to flint, michigan to the primary. he said he was for free trade in nafta. that annoyed some people. he gave the sister soldier street. he hasn't had to remake his party, but there's always people -- >> there's extreme left wing democrats barack obama.
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>> if john conyers, if barack obama -- what's john conyers, doesn't this help barack obama project himself as a more moderate? >> how much more do they want? >> i'm suggesting maybe it's good for barack obama when you get john conyers criticizing him. >> i think it is good for him. it's good for him in 2012 because that will be seen as more of a centrist but he's criticized by the left. he's contribute so maybe, maybe that's where they want to be right now. >> as gloria pointed out, when he makes his decision after thanksgiving about sending more troops to afghanistan, which everybody thinks he's going to say yes, send 20,000, 30,000,
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40,000 more troops t liberals are going to be deeply upset about that by letting the information dribble out, but on the other hand he's going to have a lot of support from republicans, a lot of support on the right which makes him more mott rat, but at least for that moment, that snapshot, he's going to look like more of a centrist president perhaps than he really is. >> and for those independent voters he's going to have to care about in 2012. >> just as we were coming here, i was at walter reed army medical center. visited with a soldier who had been shot five times by air raek soldier who he was trying to teach to shoot straight. he said i had a premonition that we were training these guys to
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kill us and my premonition was right. >> these men and women deserve that and it's important what you did. i think perhaps there's more peril for barack obama. you're going to have to make some -- they still want him to be the war guy on afghanistan. >> it's a necessity. i'm just saying, as a democrat, he's got much more risk on the left. and yes you want the center, but in virginia for example, the democrats collapsed, they didn't turn out to vote, the democratic vote was completely depressed and if i were advising him and i'm not, i would be more worried politically about afghanistan. >> we're not a great power if we betray our friends, we're not a great power anymore. >> the president's got to do what he's going to do in
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afghanistan. we all understand he's going to send more troops, how he's going to do it, we don't know. but what he's got to have is have accountability. there is. >> thanks very much and thanks for going to visit the troops over there at walter reed medical center here in washington. let's check in with erica hill to see what's coming up at the top of the hour. >> thanks, just ahead we're going to continue looking ahead to tomorrow's big showdown in the senate. i know you have been talking about it today as well. the president's health care bill is on the line. also even more confusion and outrage today over cancer screening for women. now cervical cancer is in the spotlight and plenty of anger on campus. in california a student revolt over tuition increases over 32%. please join us for all of that and much more coming up at the top of the hour. >> we certainly will erica.
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al gore is going to great lengths to go green by guest starring in a popular tv show. look at his funnier side. that's coming up in our political ticker.
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check back with jack. >> the question this hour is how much faith do you have that the government will do anything meaningful about our soaring national debt? $12 trillion and counting. greg in minneapolis, the only way to do with this problem is to cut spending, which to congress is like garlic to a vampire. congress needs spending to survive re-election, and since it is not their money, they go merrily along their drunk-with-power way. frank in florida writes outrage over the increase in the debt may be a good topic for a cable she but it's bad economics. we need to stimulate our economy with more spending to get us out of the worst recession since the great depression. let's learn from history by not yielding to the deficit hawks as
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fdr did in 1938, which caused a back slide to economic recovery. only after the economy is fully back and growing can we cut the deficit and reduce the debt, but not a moment before: mario in florida, i have an idea, return all our troops that we have in 82 countries around the world and we will not only lower our debt, we'll show a huge surplus. i doubt if you will show this e-mail, though, jack. mary in texas, why doesn't somebody stand up and tell us why all these problems exist? joblessness, huge deficits, et cetera. the corporations sent our jobs out of the country and got big tax breaks to boot. they moved their headquarters offshore and saved more on taxes. the why don't i ever hear this fact from the media. you just did. rich writes no faith at all, they will hide it, bury it, ignore it, legislate it and pass it on to the next politician who gets elected to the office. in the meantime they are feathering their own nests and in one case stocking their freezer. if you didn't see your e-mail here, go to my blog
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cnn.com/caffertyfile. delightful little place. you can spend the whole weekend there. >> a lot of people probably do. >> i hope not. >> you know what i just tweeted, by the way? >> no. >> that ben stein said oprah could be a viable presidential candidate. getting a lot of reaction on twitter. >> i'm sure it's getting a lot of reaction. i don't know how solid ben's thinking is on that subject, but they're like noses, these opinions. >> all right, jack, have a good weekend, thanks. let's check in with jessica for the political ticker. >> a new tribute to a great newsman and a friend of yours, your fellow buffalo native, tim russert. the museum here in washington is opening a new exhibit honoring the "meet the press" host who died suddenly last year. it's a replica of his office at nbc's washington bureau. his family donated memorabilia including the famous white board that russert used during the 2000 presidential election stand-off which we all remember. an interesting bit of trivia,
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the exhibit sits almost exactly above the studio where russert's long-time competitor, george stefan op plus, tapes his program this week. sarah palin is out there selling her new book "going rogue" but guess who might make money off of it, in addition to her. the democrats. the group that is the president's political arm at the dnc is warning supporters that palin and her book are dangerous, so organizing for america says it wants to raise half a million dollars over the next week to help push back against palin and her allies and they're asking supporters to chip in at least five bucks to reach that goal. all right, here's a surprising one. when you think of al gore, his sense of humor night be the first thing that pops into your mind but here's an inconvenient truth. the former vice president has been known to make fun of himself. the world's most famous town crier about global warming turned up on the nbc show "30 rock" last night. he played an environmentally aware janitor who wants to, we
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think, save the whales. listen and see if you can figure out what he says. >> quiet. a whale is in trouble. i have to go. i can't tell, did he say a whale is in a mammal is in trouble or a quayle like dan quayle. >> i thought he said a whale, but that was just my ears, not necessarily the best. jessica, thanks to you as well. great weekend. another week, another round of material for the late-night comics. front and center, sarah palin and her tell-all book. who conan had to say about what's going inside "going rogue" in the friday fun ease. has better highway mileage than a comparable honda civic. this chevy traverse has better mileage than honda pilot. the all-new chevy equinox has better mileage than honda cr-v. and chevy malibu has better mileage than accord. however, honda does make
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here's a hook at some hot shots at vatican city. in pakistan children herd animals to market in time for a festival marking the end of the
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pilgrimage. in england prime minister gordon brown has a meeting with his cabinet. and photographers tried to get a good angle at the dubai golf championship. time for the friday funnies. tv comedians take on the news. sarah palin's book tour is giving them plenty of material. take a listen to late-night comedian, conan o'brien. >> in sarah palin's new book, she says when she first laid eyes on her future husband she said out loud "thank you god." which is the same thing the democrats said when they first laid eyes on sarah palin. >> one of the event the media focused on most from president obama's asia trip was his controversial bow to japan's

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